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Four-fold increase in Israeli demolitions in 2016, UN says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A woman from the Arab Jahalin Bedouin community stands amid the debris of homes in the West Bank Bedouin camp of al-Khan al-Ahmar after Israeli authorities demolished four houses there, April 7, 2016. (© AFP)

The United Nations says Israel’s demolition campaign against Palestinian homes and structures across the occupied West Bank has brought about a four-fold increase compared to last year, and left a record number of 808 Palestinians displaced since the start of the current year.

The world body announced on Thursday that a total of 588 Palestinian structures have been razed since January, adding that the demolitions have affected more than 1,000 people as they have lost structures related to their source of income.

The majority of demolitions took place in Area C of the West Bank, which is the largest division in the occupied territory as it comprises 60 percent of the land, and is under full Israeli military control.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a statement on April 8 that 124 Palestinians, including 60 children, had been made homeless in a single day as a result of Israeli demolitions in the West Bank.

The UNOCHA said a total of 54 structures, among them 18 donor-funded ones, had been demolished in nine different Palestinian communities. Thirty-four of the structures razed were demolished in the village of Khirbet Tana near the West Bank city of Nablus, displacing 69 Palestinians. A total of 29 of those displaced were children.

A man from the Arab Jahalin Bedouin community removes furniture from his damaged home in the West Bank Bedouin camp of al-Khan al-Ahmar after Israeli authorities demolished four houses there, April 7, 2016. (© AFP) 

The demolitions have raised alarm among diplomats and human rights groups over what they regard as the Tel Aviv regime’s continued violation of international law.

Tensions have heightened in the occupied territories since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

More than 210 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.

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